Just this month, Chicago amended its Solar Zoning Policy to allow the installation of solar on residential garages. Specifically, the amendment removed the restriction on Accessory Structures in Residential Zoned districts. This change will allow solar to now be installed on both flat and pitched roof garages in all zoning districts. This is a welcome development for broad swaths of the City zoned exclusively for detached garages. This change is a great opportunity for homeowners that previously did not find it economical to install solar due to the layout or shading of their home’s roof. Allowing installation on garages offers additional opportunities to find that perfect location for solar.
Even for homeowners with existing solar installation, this zoning change provides an opportunity to expand the size of the system, provide additional energy cost savings, and add creative new multi-tasking solar installations. A PV canopy on top of a detached garage with a flat roof can create shade and protection from the elements while providing a renewable source of electricity for plug-in electric vehicles charging in the garage below.